The Problem With Climate Clock – why we need more than just a reminder

Climate Clock

The giant digital clock has been reprogrammed and called “climate clock” to tell how much time is left before an irreversible climate crisis. We are wondering if this climate  clock create more anxiety and emotional toll of climate crisis ? 

During the global climate week, 19 September – 27 September, the giant digital clock in Manhattan’s Union Square has been reprogrammed to count down the amount of time left to take action to prevent the worst effects of global warming from becoming irreversible, hence called Climate clock.

The Climate Clock 

The climate clock was created by two artists, Gan Golan and Andrew Boyd. This temporary installation counts down the years, days, hours, minutes, and second left to curb greenhouse gas emissions enough to give planet earth a 67% change of keeping the world under 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming. What a great reminder for the world about the massive crisis that is nipping at our heels. But, do we really need it ? – As if the covid-19 pandemic wasn’t giving us enough anxiety ?

The deadline is based on data from the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change (MCC), creator of the “Carbon Clock.”

Limiting global warming to 1.5° C is crucial, say scientists, if we are to avoid some of the worst impacts of climate change, including unsustainable rising sea levels, flooding, loss of coral reefs, wildfires and other disasters


With all going on in the world right now, it’s very easy for us to lose easy and downplay on the climate challenge that is unravelling before our eyes.

We are talking about a mix of confusing feelings, including depression, grief, rage, despair hopelessness, guilt and shame. For many, these conflicted feelings are now part of daily life; every time we hear a new about our planet, environment and society. Does the future of our planet usher in hopelessness? Do you stay up at night worrying whether Earth will remain habitable for our children? The rise of eco-anxiety and how to come to terms with climate change is real and you are not the only one.

Eco-anxiety is fear for the future of our planet + manifests itself in feelings of anger, powerlessness or exhaustion. The American Psychological Association first defined eco-anxiety in 2017 as “a chronic fear of environmental doom.” In 2019, as climate protests, heatwaves and a barrage of natural disasters have pushed climate up the news agenda, eco-anxiety has exploded across the Western world—even as developing countries have suffered most from climate change so far.

eco anxiety
Eco Anxiety (image credit : happiful)

Eco anxiety is not the same as a  clinical anxiety; though physicians say fears about the climate can worsen or trigger pre-existing mental health problems. In fact, for most people, eco-anxiety is a healthy response to the climate crisis.

So does adds more anxiety ?

While this giant climate clock serve its purpose to be a reminder that the climate crisis is real, it also undeniably create more anxiety over climate crisis topic. While we agree with spreading awareness and helping to mitigate the climate crisis in any way possible,  we are not really convinced on how such a daunting and scary display of how much time we have left ‘until our doom’ can really make difference.


Fighting Climate Change is a global efforts – everyone has to be involved and take a synchronized action. While we see this giant climate clock is not another way of putting more pressure, blame, guilt and responsibility onto consumers to be ones to ‘fix’ climate crisis.


How about the largest contributors to climate change –  big corporations ?  however, they are not the target audience for this display or the ones who will be most impacted by seeing this display.


Perhaps, instead of investing  so much funds for creating this performative gesture, they could have instead gone towards initiatives to make climate adaptation more accessible and inclusive or to fight environmental injustice.

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